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News of the World: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

A veteran of two wars, Captain Kidd travels from Texas town to town reading the news to the local people to earn a living.  He accepts responsibility for returning ten year old Johanna to her aunt and uncle in San Antonio.  Johanna’s family was killed by the Kiowa, and she lived as a captive with them for four years.  A dangerous journey for both of them - Kidd eventually wins the trust of Johanna.

— From News of the World, by Paulette Jiles

This is the best book I’ve read in 20 years, and a favorite of everyone who reads it.  Set in post-Civil War Texas, it is the tale of how the lives of an old captain and a young captive intersect, then interlace.  The story and setting are as full of possibilities as danger, as much courtesy as lawlessness.  Paulette Jiles's writing is just plain astounding, as graceful, effortless, and focused as a hovering kestrel.  Read this short book slowly; you will be rewarded with a many-layered poem of a novel that's about time, about compassion, about the stories that we write for ourselves or that are written for us.

— From News of the World, by Paulette Giles

October 2016 Indie Next List

“This short, powerful novel is historical fiction at its best! Captain Kidd, a 72-year-old war veteran and professional news reader, has been tasked with returning Johanna, a 10-year-old white girl kidnapped by the Kiowa when she was six and recently ransomed, to relatives living near San Antonio. The Captain knows the journey will not be easy but believes it is his duty to do the right thing, despite the dangers that lie ahead. What he doesn't expect is the strength of the bond that develops between him and Johanna, one so powerful that it defines the choice he makes at journey's end. Beautifully descriptive prose drives the narrative through the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the West during the late 1800s.”
— Adrian Newell, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA


National Book Award Finalist—Fiction

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

About the Author

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Praise For…

“This Western is not to be missed by Jiles’s fans and lovers of Texan historical fiction.”
Library Journal on NEWS OF THE WORLD

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062409201
ISBN-10: 0062409204
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Pages: 224
Language: English